Daily Archives: September 14, 2010

New Urbanist Leader Andrés Duany to Speak in Downtown Phoenix

The Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory (PURL) and the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU) are  hosting a lectures in downtown Phoenix by new urbanist luminary Andrés Duany on Wednesday, October 13.

Duany and his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, founded Duany Plater Zyberk & Company (DPZ) in 1980. DPZ became a leader in the national movement called the New Urbanism, which seeks to end suburban sprawl and urban disinvestment.

The firm received international recognition in the 1980s as the designer of Seaside, Floridaand Kentlands, Maryland. Duany also led the development of comprehensive municipal zoningordinances that prescribe urban plans for a variety uses and densities.

Planning for the 21st Century

Duany will be speaking at the Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory (PURL),  234 N. Central Ave, 8th fl. (map) at 2:00 pm on October 13th.

In this lecture, Andrés Duany will challenge us to look at the future of American cities in a new light. How do the current crises of global recession and climate change affect how we design and build cities? Sprawl is the least sustainable growth pattern, yet it still represents a major portion of the built environment – how will we adapt, repair, and rebuild it? Duany will propose new ideas and innovative strategies for rebuilding sustainable communities in the 21st century.

For those looking for a double dose of new urbanism, that morning you can hope on the light rail and catch Duany’s morning presentation on Agrarian Urbanism at ASU Tempe’s Memorial Union 230, Pima Auditorium (map) at 9:00 am.

Event flyer (pdf)

These lectures are free and open to the public. However, seating is limited.  So if you are interested in attending, RSVP to aaron.rothman@asu.edu soon as it is expected to fill up fast.

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Sheraton Downtown Phoenix to expand catering and add pool bar

[Source: Emily Gersema, The Arizona Republic]

Photo credit: Dyanna on Flickr

The city-owned Sheraton Downtown Phoenix Hotel is adding a pool bar and will expand its catering business.

At a meeting Friday, the Downtown Phoenix Hotel Corporation that oversees the hotel unanimously approved spending an estimated $225,000 to build the pool bar and another $125,000 to add a catering show room and obtain a liquor license so the hotel’s catering arm can serve liquor at off-site events.

The corporation is a non-profit group led by four city officials – David Krietor, John Chan, Ruth Osuna and Gary Verburg – and one non-city government member, Richard Snell, the former chairman of Pinnacle West Corp.

The hotel’s general manager, Leo Percopo, said the pool bar and catering additions would boost revenue.

Jerry Harper, an economic development program manager for Phoenix Convention Center & Venues, said money for the projects would come from the hotel’s project account that had been dedicated for its construction.

A financial summary shows the account had nearly $9 million as of December 2009, and it will be drawn down to $1.5 million by December this year after the city has finalized the paperwork and the certificates necessary for the formal close-out of the hotel’s construction.

Krietor said after close-out, the remainder of the project account can be shifted into other hotel funds for potential spending or savings.

The hotel opened in fall 2008, and the city paid for its construction with $350 million in revenue bonds. Bondholders are paid back with hotel revenues, so no tax dollars are spent on the deal.

The hotel operations are managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and its assets are managed by Warnick + Co.

Owner’s illness may force closure of downtown Phoenix tavern

[Source: ABC15]

A downtown Phoenix institution may be forced to close because of the owner’s battle with cancer.

“I’ve known for two years,” said Michael Ratner, owner of Tom’s Tavern. “But I’m hard headed and I didn’t want to give in to anything”

The cancer just compounds other problems for the tavern and other downtown businesses, from a bad economy, to a downtown that suffers after sunset, plus a lot of construction.  But it’s the cancer that may push Ratner’s historic place over the edge.

Tom’s Tavern opened during the Great Depression, in 1929.  It’s been a diner and pool hall ever since with Presidents and Princes coming by to grab a bite over the years.  You can see the photographic proof around the restaurant.  It’s also the kind of place that regular customers have name plackards on chairs around the place.

But owner Ratner can barely get around with a walker and he is in serious pain, making running the restaurant next to impossible.  He hasn’t been able to be there in weeks.

“I have hope it will work out,” Ratner said with a tear. “I think the tradition of Tom’s can live on.”

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